Don't you hate it when people refute established/proven facts?

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In summary, Daniel believes that there is no cure for ignorance, and that skepticism is the best way to deal with it. He also believes that there is a line between existence and modeling, and that it may not exist for anything. He also believes that atoms exist.
  • #1
KingNothing
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Don't you just hate it when someone, usually an idiot, blatantly denies or refutes an established fact?

One of these situations came up today. A girl in one of my classes tried to claim that evolution is just a theory and isn't any more proven than (biblical stuff). I tried to explain to her that evolution has been studied, witnessed, and isn't even up for debate. Whether or not it was the start of creation as we know it is what is widely debated.

Another example of this that I have come across is the existence of the G-spot in women.

Also, the majority of germans still believe that wind blowing on them (even in 90-degree weather) will cause them to get sick.
 
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  • #2
KingNothing said:
Another example of this that I have come across is the existence of the G-spot in women.

Is she the same girl with the evolution denial...?If so,make her an offer she can't refuse... :wink: :-p :devil:

Daniel.
 
  • #3
There's no cure for ignorance.

On the other hand, I often meet new theorems with skepticism until I fully understand the proof. Until then, I refuse to acknowledge it. I guess it's kind of hypocritical.
 
  • #4
Since u mentioned 'theorem',I completely trust mathematics...Never failed me so far,on the other hand,i failed her...

Daniel.
 
  • #5
dextercioby said:
Since u mentioned 'theorem',I completely trust mathematics...

I don't believe in integrals! lol

What i also hate is when someone says they don't 'belive' something even when there's a huge amount of proven facts to back it up or its highly. For example, that earthquaek that caused that tsunami; scientists said the Earth's rotation was altered a tad bit and some people i know go "oh i don't believe that for a second". Or you can go "no, that steam from that nuclear power plant is not dangerous" and people will go "i don't believe that!". I also hate when people make stupid assumptions based on the situation. For example, another nuclear example matter of fact, when people go "We can't build mroe nuclear power plants! They will blow up and white out the whole city". Now, unfortunately the real 'disaster's effect is much worse, but i hate when people say that because they think of nuclear bombs and hear "nuclear" power plant and they just connect the two immediately.
 
  • #6
There's a ****load amount of evidence that integrals exist...:-p

Daniel.
 
  • #7
Icebreaker said:
There's no cure for ignorance.

On the other hand, I often meet new theorems with skepticism until I fully understand the proof. Until then, I refuse to acknowledge it. I guess it's kind of hypocritical.
Skepticism is good; it's what keeps science honest. Blindly refusing to allow for the reality of something that's possible, let alone proven, is where the ignorance comes into it. The best way to deal with it is to either ignore it, or to propose something utterly implausible sounding, that you can prove beyond any shadow of doubt right before their eyes after they've being going on about the impossibility of it for several minutes. (Preferably done in front of an audience. :devil:)
 
  • #8
I like when people say atoms don't exist because you can't see em.

Well i look out and can't see New york city but hey, i think its there ;)
 
  • #9
Well, you know, that's a philosophical question. Do atoms exist or are they only a good mathematical model? I'd say that the line between those two things may not exist, for anything. But if you take existence as opposed to modeling as concrete daily reality, then yes, it would not be implausible for a smart educated person to deny atoms, although he would have to note that atoms as abstract concepts do provide much explanatory power for certain things.
 
  • #10
I think it's relatively safe to say that atoms exist. There is something underlying all of those chemical equations that the word 'atom' refers to. The real philosophical question is what exactly these atoms are, not just functionally, but ontologically.
 
  • #11
It is relatively safe to hold that atoms exist and also tenable to hold that they do not exist. Almost anything at all can be said not to exist on the basis that it is merely an explanatory device with no deeper significance, since almost anything is only known through effects that might be produced by that thing's existence but also, in every case, might arise for other reasons. I may be about to sound stupid because I have been reading Brian Greene's popular science presentation and have no actual knowledge of this, but I so gather that in some string theories dimensions can have size R, and in others the corresponding dimensions have size 1/R, yet these theories are equivalent because of other factors. It's not impossible to imagine that in a similar fashion at some time in the future the idea of atoms may be replaced with some other, equivalent idea, or perhaps with an idea with greater explanatory power.
 
  • #12
lol well we're normally not going "God these people are idiots" when arguing with people on such highly philosophical reasonings. Plus in a sense, we do know atoms exist as far as "something incredibly small with these dimensions and characteristics that we can see that meets the correct dimenions". This may actually be all that you need because that basically is the basis for "proving" anything exists. Ever see that IBM thing... let me get it...

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/atom-ibm.jpg

Check that out :D One of my physics profs likes that lil thing. He says there's a joke out there that says another one was made that said "Bill Gates Sucks" lol.
 
  • #13
My point was that, whatever you call them and whatever they are, something real is referred to by the word 'atom.' In fact, we can actually directly observe molecules using powerful electron microscopes. Something is there, whether or not it conforms to any currently accepted model.
 
  • #14
Certainly something is producing the results of those experiments that are currently explained by atoms, but if the mechanism producing that is nothing like the current conception of an atom, or more accurately if it is possible to conceive of some mechanism producing that which is nothing like the current conception of an atom and has greater explanatory power, then would the people now calling the mechanism "atoms" be wrong? In that circumstance I think they would.

Personally, I do believe in atoms, although I care less about what supposedly "is" there than I do about how things functionally interact, one reason I'm in computer science.
 
  • #15
Well when you argue with someone on the idea of atoms, they usually think the whole idea of something that small is propostorous because they can't see it with their naked eye
 
  • #16
That is a good point that most people denying the existence of atoms haven't thought it through so much. In that case I think that they probably should be judged on their real reasons for denying the existence of atoms. If they are doing it for blind religious reasons ("it's not in the Bible") or if they are doing it because the whole "science" thing is confusing to them and they're in denial of it, then yes, they are merely denying established facts. Idiots.
 
  • #17
Pengwuino said:
Well when you argue with someone on the idea of atoms, they usually think the whole idea of something that small is propostorous because they can't see it with their naked eye
If that's their reason, they are denying atoms because the concept seems unusual and they don't want to change the way they think. Not an excuse.
 
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  • #18
I agree that many, many people have very very bad logic when it comes to denying things.

"Raw cookie dough is fine, I've eaten it all my life and I haven't died yet."
 
  • #19
Pengwuino said:
I like when people say atoms don't exist because you can't see em.

Well i look out and can't see New york city but hey, i think its there ;)

have you ever heard of a scanning tunneling microscope? it can see atoms. :wink:
 
  • #20
Yah i posted that pic of the IBM thing lol.
 
  • #21
It's important to consider how many examples there are out there of things which were at one point considered "fact", but now are known to be completely false. Evolution is totally observable, but in general, humans have had a long history of thinking they understand something perfectly, only to be completely wrong.

"Take germs for example. Eighteenth century, no such thing. Notta. Nothing. No one ever imagined such a thing. No sane person anyway. Ah-uh-huh. Along comes this doctor ah-ah-ah Simulice, Simulice. Simulice comes along. He's trying to convince people, well other doctors mainly, that's there's teeny, tiny invisible bad things called "germs" that get into your body and make you sick. He's trying to get doctors to wash their hands. What is this guy? Crazy? Teeny, tiny, invisible? What do they call it? Uh-uh, germs? Huh? What? Now, up to the 20th century, last week, as a matter of fact, before I got dragged into this hellhole, I go into order a burger at this fast food joint, and the guy drops it on the floor. James, he picks it up, wipes it off. He hands it to me like it's all o-k. "What about the germs?" I say. He says, "I don't believe in germs. Germs is just a plot made up so they could sell disinfectants and soaps." Now he's crazy, right?"

You can listen to that little monologue here if you want http://new.wavlist.com/movies/151/12m-germs.wav
 
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  • #22
I think that's different wasteof02.

In that case, someone was called crazy even though he had facts and had a basis for his argument.

Our cases are people who have arguments and facts and the people who don't blieve it are the crazy ones.
 
  • #23
Pengwuino said:
I think that's different wasteof02.

In that case, someone was called crazy even though he had facts and had a basis for his argument.

Our cases are people who have arguments and facts and the people who don't blieve it are the crazy ones.
Well, for another example, look to the aincent Greek geocentric model of the Universe. The Greeks largely (probabally exclusively, but I don't know that for a fact) believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe, but they observed that all the celestial bodies did not orbit around Earth in an orderly fashion. They studied and studied the paths of the stars and planets, and by using a complex system of widely varied orbits within orbits, they constructed a model of the paths that celestial bodies took while orbiting the earth. It was complex, but it worked. With these models, one could predict where a certain star would be in the sky during a certain time of the year, and how its path would change over the years, and to the Greeks, since this model worked, it seemed to be the very complex truth about how celestial bodies moved.
 
  • #24
KingNothing said:
Don't you just hate it when someone, usually an idiot, blatantly denies or refutes an established fact?

You mean like Galileo and Copernicus?


I couldn't resist. While i agree on a certain level, that attitude is dangerous, it reeks of 16th century dogma the way it is worded.

Might better be stated: Tries to refute that which is supported by clear evidence without any contrary evidence. That makes an idiot.
 
  • #25
wasteofo2 said:
it seemed to be the very complex truth about how celestial bodies moved.
Those people, although mistaken, were making an honest effort to understand how nature worked. They also believed that the brain was an air-conditioning unit to keep the blood cool, because the convolutions and extensive bloodflow provided a great radiator. It never occurred to them that you think with it. That doesn't mean that their doctors didn't try to improve their knowledge. Believing something with no evidence to the contrary isn't stupid, but seeking proof of it is better.

franznietzsche said:
You mean like Galileo and Copernicus?
No, like the people who ignored them. They weren't unaccepting of established fact; they were unaccepting of established dogma. They were the ones who had the facts, to the limits of their ability.
 
  • #26
Good thing you don't work in the science of economics field. It gives you a headache to have to repeatedly prove that capitalism works and leftism doesn't. That's why I moved into physics. There one doesn't have to prove the obvious a million times over, like arguing over and over again that the Earth revolves around the sun, and thus can hope to actually get some progress done.
 
  • #27
The trouble is that sometimes the line between dogma and fact are not so clear. Most students are taught facts and dogma with no distinction between them.

Ten years ago it was considered a FACT that the cosmic expansion was slowing down. To suggest othewise was not only silly in light of the evidence, it would seemingly violate the conservation laws. In short, it was absurd to even consider! So, if we assume a Bohrian posture [all that matters is what we measure], we would have to say that the facts can change. So where is the line?
 
  • #28
I hate it when people refuse to believe something despite overwhelming evidence in favor of it. I don't mind so much when people refuse to go along with my intuition on one problem or another. If someone had said to me prior to the discovery of the accelerating universe:

"We can't be sure the universe isn't accelerating because we haven't actually observed its deceleration."

I would have agreed with them, though I'm sure I would also have felt an accelerating universe unlikely at the time. That's all perfectly alright, though, just part of the scientific process.
 
  • #29
Danger said:
Skepticism is good; it's what keeps science honest. Blindly refusing to allow for the reality of something that's possible, let alone proven, is where the ignorance comes into it.

Agreed. Skepticism is only of value when the skeptic is educated enough to realize why it is that they are skeptical.


My pet peeve about people who deny established fact is when they give the reason 'I don't like the idea.' I have a creationist friend, and in a discussion with him, one of his arguements was "I don't like the idea that we were once apes." Oh? And I don't like the idea that a sexually transmitted virus is wiping out millions in Africa, but its bloody well not going to go away If I express a dislike for it.
 
  • #30
SpaceTiger said:
I hate it when people refuse to believe something despite overwhelming evidence in favor of it. I don't mind so much when people refuse to go along with my intuition on one problem or another. If someone had said to me prior to the discovery of the accelerating universe:

"We can't be sure the universe isn't accelerating because we haven't actually observed its deceleration."

I would have agreed with them, though I'm sure I would also have felt an accelerating universe unlikely at the time. That's all perfectly alright, though, just part of the scientific process.

But that's not the way that it was. Ten years ago the evidence for a decelerating universe was considered to be overwhelming and for all practical purposes, irrefutable. So the facts change. It was taught as a fact.
 
  • #31
lol oh yes, love the "i don't like the idea" crowd (whats with you guys ragging on creationists all the time lol).
 
  • #32
Time is a constant. Time is a variable. The facts change.
 
  • #33
Ivan Seeking said:
But that's not the way that it was. Ten years ago the evidence for a decelerating universe was considered to be overwhelming and for all practical purposes, irrefutable. So the facts change. It was taught as a fact.

As far as I know, there was no direct evidence for a decelerating universe prior to the SNIa measurements, so I'm not sure who you were talking to. People certainly assumed that it would be decelerating, but nobody claimed to have measured it.
 
  • #34
Interesting. So this was taught as a fact even though we had no direct measurements? This surprises me since for all of my life the question of the mass of the universe [which has increased by a factor of ten in recent years, another changing fact] and whether the universe would collapse or continue expanding, were the only real questions. For a time, the published materials set the [measured?] values right at the limit such that we couldn't tell what would happen. So how this was all inferred, I don't know.
 
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  • #35
Ivan Seeking said:
Interesting. So this was taught as a fact even though we had no direct measurements? This surprises me since for all of my life the question of the mass of the universe [which has increased by a factor of ten in recent years, another changing fact] and whether or not the universe would collapse or continue expanding, was the only real question. For a time, the published materials set the [measured?] values right at the limit such that we couldn't tell what would happen. So how this was all inferred, I don't know.

I agree with you that it was naive for the astronomical community, but that's how it goes. Here's a quote from a 1998 SNIa paper, immediately prior to the acceleration discovery:

Although many other methods for measuring the global curvature and cosmological deceleration exist, none has yet delivered a definitive result.

- Schmidt et al. 1998, ApJ, 507, 46

This sentence sums it up really nicely. Basically, they were assuming deceleration despite having no measurement of it!

Fortunately, there are scientists in the community who don't take such a myopic view of things. A member of this department, Bohdan Paczynski, was a dissenter of this sort on the issue of gamma-ray bursts. The community had collectively decided that they were galactic in origin, but he kept pressing the evidence for extragalactic origins. In the end, the evidence was on his side, so he eventually won out, but not without a long fight.

If you ask me, we're in the same position today with inflation. Many are simply assuming its truth despite its producing no observable predictions (other than the observations it was originally meant to explain). It may be true, I'll grant, but we should not be assuming it.
 
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